01 April 2019
Gogol quest and Ukrainian culture
On 31 March, we celebrated the 210th birthday of Nikolai Gogol (1809-1852) by going on a quest of the writer's best-known works.
The programme opened with Ukrainian songs performed by the local national community of Ukrainians. They created the right mood and reminded the audience of the sort of music Nikolai Gogol would have heard as a child.
The Gogol Quest took the audience back to his early life, his hometown and first collection of stories. One part of the quest tested the readers' knowledge of Gogol's themes and characters; another part centered around Ukrainian words used in Gogol's novels in abundance and posing difficulty for the modern readers. The biggest part of the quest focused on Gogol's major novel, Dead Souls, that in his lifetime was published under a different title imposed by censorship - The Adventures of Chichikov. The guests of the library could also take part in an improvised sketch composed of short episodes from Gogol's plays - The Government Inspector and Marriage.
Many visitors commented on the relevance of Gogol's characters and themes for today's Russia. Reading Nikolai Gogol's prose, one can establish a link with his generation of readers as if travelling back in time.